5 Addictions that Will Cost You the Most Money

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated November 10, 2017

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Money Saving Tips
April 19, 2016

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Addiction is always expensive, no matter what you’re addicted to. Some of the most expensive compulsive behaviors carry with them annual price tags in the tens of thousands of dollars. Many people can find themselves in a mountain of debt, all based on their addiction.

Not every addiction is easy to quantify or track, but these are some that have well-established stats as high-end addictions.

Cigarettes are addictive and the average smoker lights up to the tune of around $1,789 per year. In areas where cigarettes are more expensive, such as New York, that price goes up to approximately $3,854 for those who smoke about a pack a day.

A junk food addiction might not seem like a big deal compared to the average American diet until you realize it could be costing you up to $4,968 per year. You might be spending $3,500 on the extra food, adding on the additional cost of diet pills and supplements if you have a binge/purge cycle. Binge eating is an addiction with all of the associated costs.

Drinking might be fun on occasion — no happy hour is complete without at least a beer — but the average American spends 1 percent of his or her income on alcohol. Those with an addiction can pony up a lot more during a year. If you fall into the top 10 percent of drinkers and do most of your drinking at a bar, the price could hit more than $20,000. At home drinkers save a lot, but once you add on the cost of a DUI or other legal charges, the price climbs quickly.

Winning might be a lot of fun, but the average male gambling addict drops more than $55,000 at the tables. Female gamblers put up an average of $15,000. In either case, the fun of the occasional win doesn’t touch the depression of maxed-out credit cards and looming debts.

If you occasionally toke up or roll a jay, you might be looking at an annual outlay of around $1,000, but harder drugs come with heavier price tags, both when you buy and if you get caught using. With cocaine, you could spend up to $91,250 per year if you use an eight ball a day. Even at a gram-a-day habit, you’re looking at up to $25,500.

Addictions — hard or soft, legal or illegal — cost you thousands out of pocket. They cost society even more in treatment and lost productivity. If you think you have a problem, seek help and beat the addiction.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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